In a boost to the Indian food industry, the Centre has announced that it will open seven new quality control cells (QCC) as a part of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17). The cells will help monitor the quality of food grains during the procurement, storage and distribution of food grains.
In a statement made to the press, Food minister K V Thomas said that QCCs will be started at Guwahati, Patna, Chandigarh, Jammu, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Chennai. He also said that presently the states do not have strong quality control mechanisms and the QCCs will ensure that good quality grains are procured, stored and distributed by ration shops.
Ensuring a safer meal
Presently there are eight QCCs operational across India. These cells have small labs attached to them for quality checking of food grains. In the last financial year, the cells inspected 1086 food storage mails, 1201 ration shops, 532 procurement centres, 411 loading and unloading points and 251 rice mills. The total number of food grain samples collected and analysed stands at 5921.
According to Divya Sanglikar, corporate nutritionist at Healthji, an established health portal, “The Central government needs to take several steps to ensure that the food distributed to the common public is safe and secure. A strict regulatory body on food grain distribution is a necessary step today. There is also a need for stricter grain analysis.”
Mr Thomas also revealed that the Central Grains Analysis Laboratory (CGAL) has been modernised with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to ensure faster and more effective analysis of food grain samples. The CGAL analyses samples sent by QCCs and a total of Rs 1 crore has been spent on modernising activities of the former.
The Food Ministry has also launched a redesigned website of the Ministry Of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.